Message for residents affected by flooding

June 26, 2017

If you are affected by flooding in the region and are on a private well, you should consider your water to be unsafe and have it tested immediately.

How to get your well water tested

1. Pick up an empty water sampling bottle and form from a participating Public Health office (see table here) or a municipal office (please call your municipal office to find out if they participate in this program).

2. Follow the instructions provided with the sampling bottle to take your sample and fully complete the form that accompanies the bottle.

3. Drop off the sample at one of the locations here. The drop-off times listed ensure your sample makes it to the testing lab in Hamilton on time.

4. We send your water samples to Public Health Ontario laboratory for E. coli and total coliform testing.

5. Get your results and see what they mean.

6. Public health inspectors can help you interpret the results of your water test. Call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.

If you need further testing (e.g., for nitrates, sodium, fluoride, metals, chemicals), you must contact a private laboratory. Find one in this list of accredited laboratories or call us at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.

If you need to disinfect your well, follow the steps here

Cleaning up after a flood

If your property is flooded, the GRCA advises residents not to return until authorities advise it is safe to do so. The GRCA also recommends you:

  • Report broken utility lines.
  • Consult your insurer about steps to take if your property is flooded.
  • If you suspect your building has suffered structural damage, contact the building department for your municipality.
  • Exercise caution when re-entering your home. If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
  • If your main electrical panel was under water, it must be cleaned, dried and tested by a qualified electrician to determine if it is safe. Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse breaker panels until they have been checked by the power company.
  • If natural gas lines were under water, contact your gas supplier before resuming service. If natural gas appliances were under water, have them checked by an approved heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor.
  • The water in your home could be contaminated with sewage and other pollutants. Contact the local health unit for instructions.

The CMHC recommends (PDF) you restore your home to good order as soon as possible after a flood as mold is less likely to grow if you can dry your house and belongings within 48 hours.  

Your first step, according to the CMHC, is to remove all standing water and all soaked and dirty items and debris, including wet drywall and insulation. After everything is removed, clean all surfaces with unscented detergent and water. Bleach is not recommended. Carpets soaked in sewage must be discarded. After surfaces are clean, ventilate or dehumidfy your home until it is completely dry. 

Visit the following sites for more information on preparing and dealing with flooding: